Similar flattering descriptions - these come from a local trade directory - could be found for virtually all the 'cotton men', whether owners or managers. The former were of course the most influential, for in their hands was the wellbeing of the entire community - the closure of a mill or the bankruptcy of a textile business could mean hundreds being thrown out of work with no means of support. The managers, in charge of the more day-to-day operations in each mill, were no less powerful in other ways, every decision they made affecting the daily lives of the workers and their families. Managers were rewarded by high salaries and became men of status and prestige in their own right, moving to the suburbs, joining the town council, sponsoring local charities, sitting in the best pews at church or chapel. Their influence was pervasive. They were the top men, they and their families formed the most superior circle in local society, their houses were the finest in the town, and their status demanded and commanded respect and deference from the people below them in wealth and position.
Dr. Alan Crosby